Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Painted Sky

It is my first regular morning in the big house since returning from my two weeks in Canada. I went to the gym last night and then had a tuna and peanut butter sandwich before falling asleep on the couch. We've had a cat burglar in our midst and so I checked the surveillance cameras and loaded a pistol in my weary trek to my bed. Kodak has gotten both old and fat enough to have difficulty jumping onto the bed. My last endeavor for the day was helping her up with a grunt from both of us. 
The morning came quickly with the most spectacular sky. Long flat clouds of blue and grey and white traversed the sky - illuminated from beneath by the sun as it crested the horizon. My first coffee sits on the corner of the table - the sun shining sideways through the house. Kodak sits on the floor to its right. A train horn echoes up the grade of the hill. I'm home.

Gate 79

I made it through Customs without incident - although the agent took an uncomfortably long time reviewing the computer screen after scanning my passport. It seems we do US Customs and Immigration on the Canada side of the border because Canadians are so cool. Security was a breeze - and yet they did the explosives check on my camera bag and looked at the polarizing filter with suspicion. It also seems that the Canadian TSA equivalent did not have to drop out of High School to get the job and actually smiled a lot and enjoyed carrying on meaningful conversations.I raced down the moving walkways to my gate pausing for a moment to P (Spelling unknown). It was early and I was alone in there - a long line of urinals from which to choose. I think the rule of thirds applies in such circumstances and I picked the left third. There was the echoing sound of my breath, an occasional water drop, the myriad sounds of the airport entering through the entryway, the odd green fluorescent light shining from banks in the ceiling - and the repetitive sound of a baby crying. Strange I thought as I stood there peeing (Spelling unknown). Again and again was the nearly electronic sounding baby's crying - as if from a doll with a pull string - always the same tone, the same duration. I was quite sure I was alone in there. I paused for a moment(if you know what I mean) to listen more intently, looking over my should and scanning the empty room. I saw myself standing in the row of urinals in the large mirror on the opposite wall above the row of sinks. The place was clean and quiet - hmmm I thought. And then, just as I turn back, I heard the baby again - this time the sound corresponding with the automatic towel dispenser - apparently in some malfunction, dispensing towels quite on its own - the internal motor sounding just like a baby crying in the bathroom's echoed droll - leaving another section of a length of towel on the floor some twenty feet long - sorry, seven meters. And now, as I sit at Gate 79, looking over at gate 81, the sun just peaking over the horizon - pink and orange clouds high, black clouds below - a Chinese man stands before me - alone in the wide expanse of the empty airport - doing thai-chi. Oh Canada - eh!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

More Benito


John's second son Benjamin Stuart Millar is 14. We went to Queen Elizabeth Park yesterday and shot a few new pics for his Facebook page.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Global Financial Crisis

Instead of paying off mortgages, the Fed and their pals - George W Bush chief among them - have paid off their buddies and their buddies institutions choosing to inflate the entire economy with the infusion of trillions of dollars rather than addressing the mortgage crisis directly. Do you have any idea how many zeros that is? Can you imagine the corruption at play. The entire financial system is built on the faith of investors - our faith in the people there to be concerned more for our interests than their own. And now that the next three generations of the American People have been enslaved by our unprecedented debt - we will enter a lengthy and uncomfortable period of hyper-inflation. Many of you will have to work five or ten years longer than you thought you would have to. What has proven to be a consistently safe investment in times of inflation with a security that exceeds the volatility of the markets has been precious metals. Gold is a good buy today at $783 an ounce. 

Friday, October 17, 2008


Titty Hard On

This morning John and I sailed on a 42 foot trawler. It was overcast, windy and cold. It had been raining all night. As we left the protection of the harbor and into the rougher waters, I stood on the bow facing into the wind. My cheeks were rosy red and icy cold rain drops stung like needles as they landed in my eyes. I dawned my Lago Grey hoodie. It wasn't long before my hands were freezing cold, my knees aching and my nipples harder than any previously understood law of physics or chemistry could explain. I mean that they were actual screaming "help me, help me". We fished for Chinook for a couple of hours without luck and then boated up the channel. Tugs pulled huge jams of lumber through the sound. Seals were everywhere and the occasional Eagle. Tonight we've made it back to civilization in Vancouver where there actually is internet signal someplace other than the pub.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not Hella Goin On

There once was a man from $edona

Who hated white bread and bologna

So to avoid the wurst

As the Millar’s first

He flew South to get his diploma

Now he cussed and cursed

till we thought he would burst

but while he was there

he trimmed his hair

He banged all the chicks

that the school could matrix

and although just distracted

from the way he’d acted

he returned with an 86.


He is good at Sports,

We've read the reports.

He's better at hoop

And been a good troop

He’s best at music

But might not use it.

He’s a gift for writing

And he’s grown out of fighting

So his knack for language

Won’t need a bandage.


And under his armor

Is a magnificent charmer.

With a heart of gold

Some have told

But has no interest in being a farmer.

He could do flooring

it’d be hella boring

So the question at hand

Will he start a band?


Life comes in chapters and we turn page by page

The landscape changes like the maples and sage

We live in the present and plan for the future

And it’s no fun at all getting a suture.

With his sheepskin in hand

We will have to plan

for our newly grown up Vancouver man

Full of potential and options galore

His whole life ahead of him that is for sure.


There once was a man from $edona

Who hated white bread and bologna

So to avoid the wurst

As the Millar’s first

He flew South to get his diploma.

Eagle Sound

Yesterday I went on a hike with my pan camera in a nearby provincial park – leaving my digital camera behind. I was in a mood where I felt the need to be by myself for a bit and it really was fascinating. There was only one other person in the park – and I never saw them anywhere. It was so utterly quiet – just my breath and footstep and my occasional conversations to the birds and the view. I apparently walked right up on a squirrel and he screamed at me – and it scared the heck out of me for a moment. I hiked along the sea – the sun shining but diminished by a layer of high thin clouds. I shot a picture of the bay, a pile of drift logs, the moss and a few other things. When I got to a place called Francis point where there is a small lighthouse – I sat down on a ledge of flat granite and looked out over the sea. Texada Island across the sound was black in the distance with a perfect line of silver backlit clouds over its top. Beyond was Vancouver Island, a flat blue grey with a sky of layered thin clouds. The sea was breathless and flat and the only sound was the very gentle rapping of small waves on the shore below. I leaned back against the rock and closed my eyes. I heard just the breath of air above me, and when I opened my eyes and looked overhead – a bald eagle was souring past maybe 30 feet up. I watched a seal floating in the water – flipping over and slapping his tail against the water – a loud clap that echoed on the land. I understand is intended to startle schools of fish. I could have lain there all day, but I’d come to take pictures.

The scene before me was a brilliant silver sea with clouds and black islands – with a foreground of mossy granite. Far in the distance I saw a fishing boat – an old boat trolling with outriggers. I thought that this great scene would be so much better should this vessel creep into the foreground. So I waited – the sun shining brightly at times and casting a shimmering line of while light across the sea. It took thirty minutes or more for the boat to get there – the only boat on the ocean at the time. Please, please – I thought as it approached, hoping it would pass close by. With my camera poised – the fishing boat passed some 100 meters from shore – its pilot waving as it went by. I shot three pans – and when the boat passed through the shimmering line of sunlight – silhouetted temporarily by the bright light – the small ship’s wake glistened in the light for a hundred yards behind it – for just a moment – which I think was captured. With film of course, we will have to wait and see – but I will be crossing my finger

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Grasshopper Pub

Brown Water Blues

John and I went up to Klein Lake today in search of Elk. It was cold out – perhaps 8 degrees Celsius.  We stopped along the side of the lake so that I could photograph a pair of Clogs I spied,  that were abandoned by some previous traveler. It would turn out to be a dire warning that I completely missed. The reflections on the lake were beautiful – a lake surrounded by fallen trees, moss, beautifully colored maples. I stepped out on a makeshift dock made of floating logs, lumber and pallets – a place where people probably went to fish on the lake. The oddly constructed path led to a large tree trunk on the water onto which I intended to jump. Alas – one of the floating logs was just that – a floating log, not tethered to anything but its own buoyancy. When I stepped on it – as if to follow a path of stepping stones – it was no match for my sturdy foot and into the cold drink I went. John says from afar as he hears the big splash – “wow, they do have big fish in here.” As he turned to look, there were only my hands being held aloft, holding my camera into the air. 

No harm done though. I finished my hike in my wet shoes and boxers – light green patterned print with open fly. I eventually put my pants back on at a Canada Petro station – at the yellow pump across from the lady in the minivan. And I took the picture I intended to take. 

Vancouver Canucks

Skookcumchuck Narrows

It was 3 degrees C this morning with a fog and a heavy dew. The sun is just now cresting the nearby mountains, shining sideways through the house, and will quickly warm and clear the air. Yesterday was John’s birthday. We went to the local pub for a few beers right at sunset. It had rained all day until then and opened from the West. Over the mountains – still floating in clouds – some distant snow covered peak at Garibaldi Park or Whistler stood straight up into the warm evening sunlight. The sky turned red and then pink as the sun set below the horizon. We drank a Riccards Amber Ale.

So this morning – John and I have been checking on the World economic meltdown -  which I will remind you was duly predicted. We have only been checking in by radio and an occasional call into our advisor in Dallas. I’ve actually made money while here as the Canadian dollar has dropped 20% since I got here, but gold – remains strong. So, we poured a little whiskey into our coffee and pulled out a couple of Cuban cigars to lament the end of the American Empire as we all knew it. And now – as soon as the adjustment is played out - a prolonged period of hyperinflation is forthcoming.

By afternoon we were hiking North through the rainforest to Skookumchuck Narrows – one of a few such places in the world – where a long and large fjord fills and empties through a narrow inlet at each day’s tidal transition. The passage at slack tide looks like a normal body of water – but as the tide rises or drops and the fjord fills or empties, a huge volume of water rushes in or out like of torrent, running at some 20 kilometers per hours with tall, robust rapids with the character of a river

My Image of the Economic Meltdown

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tidal Bore

I'm sorry we are all having to suffer from the looting of America. The Axis of Evil - the three horsemen of the Apocalypse will be out of office soon. But here's anther tidal wave - one of few in the World where a huge fjord fills and empties through a small inlet - running at 20 kph and big enough to surf on -  Skookumchuck Narrows 

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Hockey Schtick

My pal John here is a wildlife biologist whose area of expertise is fisheries. He does a lot of work for the government managing development projects that may impact water quality and fish stocks. He’s a tough old hockey player with bad knees and knuckles that look like they’ve been in a scraper or two. He has three sons – James, Benjamin and Willie – all who seem to have inherited his athletic ability. I traveled with John through Well’s Gray in far Eastern BC two years ago – with Jan from Holland and Roger from Dallas.   

John has a real attachment to the land – its natural order, color, diversity and beauty. An accomplished writer, John has a real knack for word smithing compositions of words that describe well the texture, color and sounds of things we find in nature we find difficult to describe.

We will meander each day somewhere here in the woods. This weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada. John’s Plains Indian friend will be here this weekend to take us into woods to track Roosevelt Elk and a pack of black wolves. A remarkable human being John says – a big fellow with long black hair down to his waist.

Gash In a Tree

Beaver Island Reserve